City officials next week plan to divert traffic from their busy streets to neighboring South Pasadena, which has led opposition to the 6.2-mile 710 Freeway extension because it would cut through the middle of town.
The plan includes blocking southbound traffic from Fremont Avenue at Alhambra Road while cars heading north toward South Pasadena will get through. Fremont handles an estimated 31,000 vehicles daily.
Alhambra Mayor Mark Paulson denied that the traffic diversions, which will begin at Tuesday afternoon’s rush hour, are designed to punish South Pasadena’s long opposition to the freeway.
“This is going to relieve traffic on our streets, nothing else,” he said.
The diversions will stay in effect until the freeway is built, he added.
South Pasadena City Manager Sean Joyce said Friday that the city will try to ensure that motorists know about the anticipated bottleneck before they reach it. City officials also said they are considering legal options to block Alhambra’s move.
Joyce said the city fears that the traffic diversion may hamper firefighters and police responding to emergencies, and create the potential for “road rage” among frustrated drivers.